My TBR by the decades – The 1970s

[For those who don’t know, I am participating in A Century of Books this year which requires me to read one book from each year from 1919 through 2018.]

The 1970s are going to be weird for me. On the one hand there are tried and true authors, but on the other are books I have never heard of and know nothing about. There are no obvious choices.


Children Are Civilians Too – Heinrich Boll
The Hopeful Traveller – Mary Hocking
Houses – Borislav Pekic
Last Things – C.P. Snow


A Meaningful Life – L.J. Davis
The Climbing Frame – Mary Hocking
Message from Malaga – Helen MacInnes
Mawrdew Czgowchwz – James McCourt
Equal Danger – Leonardo Sciascia
Unforgiving Years – Victor Serge
Not to Disturb – Muriel Spark

I’ll never be able to discuss the James McCourt novel. That’s a lot of consonants.


The Acolyte – Thea Astley
No Name in the Street – James Baldwin
Short Letter, Long Farewell – Peter Handke
Upstairs Downstairs – John Hawkesworth
The Bridge of Beyond – Simone Schwarz-Bart
The Malcontents – C.P. Snow
Augustus – John Williams

I almost didn’t put the John Hawkesworth on this list as it’s a novelization of the 1970s Upstairs Downstairs and didn’t seem like a “real” book to me but more of a novelty item. The Baldwin almost didn’t make the list because it is a collection of essays rather than a novel. I love the title Short Letter, Long Farewell.


The Dressmaker – Beryl Bainbridge
The Black Prince – Iris Murdoch
The Siege of Swayne Castle – R.C. Sherriff
The Hothouse by the East River – Muriel Spark
Other Men’s Daughters – Richard Stern

When I purchased Other Men’s Daughters recently I had  a lot of people chime in on Twitter that it was an excellent book.


Doctor Frigo – Eric Ambler
The Snare of the Hunter – Helen MacInnes
In Their Wisdom – C.P. Snow

This perfect storm of authors I like with no other wild cards to choose from. It also represents the last bit of each of their writing output for Ambler (only 2 more books to be published and  Snow (only 1 more). MacInnes had a bit more steam left with 5 more yet to be published.


The Realms of Gold – Margaret Drabble
First Love, Last Rights – Ian McEwan
The Odd Angry Shot – William Nagle

This is going to be a tough choice between the Drabble and McEwan but I think the fact that this is McEwans first novel may tilt the month in his favorite. 


The Spring – Kerstin Ekman
Agent in Place – Helen MacInnes
A World of Light – May Sarton


The Dark Lady – Louis Auchincloss

It’s going to be hard to choose for 1977. Which will it be…?


Injury Time – Beryl Bainbridge
God on the Rocks – Jane Gardam
Prelude to Terror – Helen MacInnes
The High Cost of Living – Marge Piercy
A Reckoning – May Sarton
The Moro Affair – Leonardo Sciascia
Fields of Fire – James Webb
The Volunteers – Raymond Williams


Pig Earth – John Berger
The Safety Net – Heinrich Boll
Slow Homecoming – Peter Handke
Territorial Rights – Muriel Spark

For the whole list,

TBR Chron

7 thoughts on “My TBR by the decades – The 1970s

  1. Karen K. January 21, 2018 / 10:26 am

    I have not heard of a single one of these books with the possible exception of the Upstairs, Downstairs novelization which showed up in my library catalog a few years ago when I was searching for UpDown. The 1970s are a tough decade for me, I think I only own three unread books written in the entire decade.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      Like I said, the 70s are tough for me too. Especially if subtract my tried and true authors.


  2. lethe January 21, 2018 / 11:55 am

    First Love, Last Rites is a collection of short stories. I don’t know if that will influence your reading choice for 1975 :-)


    • Thomas January 21, 2018 / 12:00 pm

      D’oh. I hadn’t noticed that. Yes, it probably will mean I don’t read it as part of ACOB (or this year).


  3. Liz Dexter January 23, 2018 / 2:58 am

    I’m rubbish at the 70s. The Black Prince and God on the Rocks are the only ones I’ve read from this list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patience January 23, 2018 / 6:23 am

    I’m kind of curious about all the CP Snows I’m seeing in your lists. I’ve never read him, but I worked as a library page in high school and we had a shelfful of his books that never seemed to get checked out and I’ve always been curious about him. Maybe it’s time to add him to my list.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 3:32 pm

      I read one Snow (The Masters) and enjoyed the milieu enough that I was curious to try more. Then Nonsuch Book and I went to this bookstore in Baltimore where all the books are free and I found a whole bunch of his books. Snows books are quiet and have lots of detail that makes me think of them as modern Trollopes. For instance The Masters is all about the politics that do into choosing a replacement college official and The Affair is all about an academic integrity case.

      You can read about the day I bought the Snows.


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